To many people if a piano is not a grand it’s an upright. But the term “upright piano” might be more accurately applied to the largest sizes of vertical (as opposed to grand) pianos. While the terms are somewhat general and loosely applied there are four categories or size groups often used to identify vertical pianos. They are:
• Studio Upright
Like I said there is nothing hard and fast about these terms but they do help us quickly grasp what size instrument we are talking about. For instance if you tell me you just inherited Grandma’s old piano and need my help moving it, trust me I will be extremely interested in what you say next. Is it a Wurlitzer spinet or a Bush and Lane Cabinet Grand?
If it’s the former I could probably be persuaded with a six pack of my favorite beverage and a good burger. If it’s the latter, I think I’m busy that day. You get the idea.
The above list is in order of size with spinet being the shortest, the console a few inches taller, the studio taller yet with uprights being the tallest vertical pianos. An “Upright Grand” is a term that was commonly used to refer to the largest of the large uprights (they aren’t grand pianos, they are still uprights).
Generally the larger the instrument the better the sound it can produce. Please understand there are quite a few variables that affect how much that is true when comparing any two instruments. Quality of design, components, construction and so on can make quite a difference, even more than just the size.
One other thing to note is that aside from its small size the spinet action is also different from other vertical pianos – and not in a good way. More on that when we talk about spinet pianos in particular.